Successfully building, flying, and maintaining the space shuttles was an immensely complex job that required a high level of detailed, precise engineering. After each shuttle landed, it entered a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) phase. Each system was thoroughly checked and tested, and worn or damaged parts replaced, before the shuttle was rolled out for its next mission. During the MRO period, workers needed to record exactly what needed replacing and why, as well as follow precise guidelines and procedures in making their repairs. That meant traceability, and with it lots of paperwork. In 2007, the number of reports generated during electrical system repairs was getting out of hand-placing among the top three systems in terms of paperwork volume. Repair specialists at Kennedy Space Center were unhappy spending so much time at a desk and so little time actually working on the shuttle. "Engineers weren't spending their time doing technical work," says Joseph Schuh, an electrical engineer at Kennedy. "Instead, they were busy with repetitive, time-consuming processes that, while important in their own right, provided a low return on time invested." The strain of such inefficiency was bad enough that slow electrical repairs jeopardized rollout on several occasions. Knowing there had to be a way to streamline operations, Kennedy asked Martin Belson, a project manager with 30 years experience as an aerospace contractor, to co-lead a team in developing software that would reduce the effort required to document shuttle repairs. The result was System Maintenance Automated Repair Tasks (SMART) software. SMART is a tool for aggregating and applying information on every aspect of repairs, from procedures and instructions to a vehicle s troubleshooting history. Drawing on that data, SMART largely automates the processes of generating repair instructions and post-repair paperwork. In the case of the space shuttle, this meant that SMART had 30 years worth of operations that it could apply to ongoing maintenance work. According to Schuh, "SMART standardized and streamlined many shuttle repair processes, saving time and money while increasing safety and the quality of repairs." Maintenance technicians and engineers now had a tool that kept them in the field, and because SMART is capable of continually evolving, each time an engineer put it to use, it would enrich the Agency-wide knowledge base. "If an engineer sees something in the work environment that they could improve, a repair process or a procedure, SMART can incorporate that data for use in future operations," says Belson.